Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
cost the earth
To be exorbitant or burdensome in expense. A: "Your new car looks pretty slick!" B: "I should hope so, it cost the earth!" All these new taxes and service charges are going to cost the earth.
cost (someone) dearly
To cause dire, harmful, or problematic consequences for someone, especially regarding a foolish action or a mistake. Drinking all night before his final exams is going to cost him dearly. That late penalty could cost them dearly, as it now puts their opponents within range to tie the game.
A very large sum of money. I've always wanted to vacation in Hawaii, but the plane tickets cost a king's ransom.
and hang the cost
With no regard for the price. We have to get the roof fixed before the next storm, so call the contractor and hang the cost.
at all costs
In any way possible, regardless of risk or expense. Please, save my husband at all costs—I can't live without him! I hope my foot heals quickly—I try to avoid going to the doctor at all costs.
at any cost
In any way possible, regardless of risk or expense. Please, save my husband at any cost—I can't live without him! I hope my foot heals quickly—I try to avoid going to the doctor at any cost.
civility costs nothing
It is easy to be respectful. You don't have to be their best friends, but you could at least say hi to them—civility costs nothing.
cost a bomb
informal To be very expensive. A fancy car like that costs a bomb, so I definitely can't afford it!
cost a pretty penny
To be very expensive. The person spending the money can be stated between "cost" and "a." A fancy car like that costs a pretty penny, so I definitely can't afford it! Wow, a house in that gated community must have cost Alex a pretty penny.
cost an arm and a leg
slang To cost lot of money. College tuitions cost an arm and leg nowadays. I'm sick of paying rent in this town because it costs an arm and a leg!
cost (one) dear
To bring one trouble; to result in very negative consequences. The crimes of his youth cost him dear when he started applying for jobs.
To determine the total cost of something by adding smaller costs together. When we cost out all the steps of our home renovation project, we knew that it was going to exceed the amount we had budgeted.
count the cost
To realize the negative impact that something has had; to assess the consequences. I ignored my foot injury because I didn't think it was serious, but I'm definitely counting the cost now that I need surgery.
estimate the cost at (something)
To predict that something will cost a certain amount. Unfortunately, I would estimate the cost of these car repairs at $1,000.
it/that will cost (one)
1. Something will cost a large amount of money, especially compared to a cheaper or simpler option. You can opt to rent a larger van instead of the sedan, but it will cost you. A: "Jane and Joe want to upgrade their tickets to first class." B: "There's still time to do it, but that'll cost them. Are they sure it's worth it?" A: "Will you promose not to tell Mom?" B: "It'll cost you."
2. Something will have a negative impact on one's performance or chance of success. A: "Uh oh, the quarterback just fumbled the ball on his own 20 yard line!" B: "Ouch, that'll cost them big time. They really can't afford to give up any more points this late in the game." You can try to fluff up your résumé a bit when you apply for the job, but it'll cost you if your interviewers find out.
to (one's) cost
To one's detriment; due to one's personal experience with something negative. Unfortunately, he's not as forgiving as we all had thought, as I found out to my cost.
See also: cost
at all costsand at any cost
Fig. regardless of the difficulty or cost; no matter what. I intend to have that car at all costs. Mary was going to get that job at any cost.
Civility costs nothing.and Courtesy costs nothing.
Prov. It never hurts you to be polite. Always greet people politely, no matter what you think of them. Civility costs nothing. Why not write Mildred a thank-you note? Courtesy costs nothing.
cost a pretty pennyand cost an arm and a leg; cost the earth
Fig. to be expensive; to cost a lot of money. Mary's dress is real silk. It must have cost a pretty penny. Taking care of a fancy car like that can cost a pretty penny, let me tell you. It cost an arm and a leg, so I didn't buy it. A house that size with an ocean view must cost the earth!
cost something out
to figure out the total cost of some set of costs or a complex purchase of goods or services. Give me a minute to cost this out, and I will have an estimate for you. Do you have time to cost out these specifications this week?
estimate the cost at
(some amount) to approximate the cost of something at a particular amount. I estimate the cost at about one hundred dollars. The cost of repairing the car was estimated at over four thousand dollars!
Fig. a great deal of money. (To pay an amount as large as one might have to pay to get back a king held for ransom. *Typically: cost ~; pay ~; spend~.) I would like to buy a nice watch, but I don't want to pay a king's ransom for it. It's a lovely house. I bet it cost a king's ransom.
at all costs
Also, at any cost or price . Regardless of the expense or effort involved, by any means. For example, Ann told the doctor to preserve her mother's sight at all costs, or It seems the company plans to develop the product at any cost, or I'm determined to get vacation time at any price. [Mid-1800s]
at any cost
Also, at any price. See at all costs.
A huge sum of money, as in That handmade rug must have cost a king's ransom. This metaphoric expression originally referred to the sum required to release a king from captivity. [Late 1400s]
cost an arm and a leg
If something costs an arm and a leg, it costs a lot of money. It cost us an arm and a leg to get here. But it has been worth every penny and more. Note: Verbs such as pay, charge and spend are sometimes used instead of cost. Many restaurants were charging an arm and a leg for poor quality food.
count the costmainly BRITISH
COMMON If you count the cost of something damaging or harmful, you consider the extent of the damage or harm that has been done. Meanwhile, the government has been counting the cost of this disastrous campaign. The central government is today counting the political cost of the dispute which has already prompted the resignation of one minister.
cost an arm and a legbe extremely expensive. informal
count the costcalculate the consequences of something, typically a careless or foolish action.
2004 The Mercury (Hobart) Aaron Mauger is on standby as the All Blacks count the cost of Saturday's loss.
cost (or charge or pay) the earthcost (or charge or pay) a large amount of money. British informal
cost/pay an ˌarm and a ˈleg(informal) cost/pay a lot of money: We want to redecorate the living room, but I’m afraid it’s going to cost us an arm and a leg.
at ˈany costunder any circumstances: He is determined to win at any cost.
it will ˈcost you(spoken) used to say that something will be expensive: There is also a de luxe model available, but it’ll cost you.
to your ˈcost(know, discover, etc. something) because of something unpleasant that has happened to you: Joanne’s not a very reliable person, as I’ve recently discovered to my cost.
See also: cost
at ˈall costswhatever has to be done, suffered, etc: He is determined to win at all costs.
count the ˈcost
1 consider carefully what the risks or disadvantages may be before you do something: The job was attractive financially, but when I counted the cost in terms of separation from my family and friends, I decided not to take it.
2 feel the bad effects of a mistake, an accident, etc: We made a big mistake when we bought that old car, and we’re still counting the cost — it breaks down almost every week!
cost/pay/charge the ˈearth(British English, informal) cost/pay/charge a lot of money: It needn’t cost the earth to refurbish your offices.
at all costs
Regardless of the expense or effort involved; by any means.
cost an arm and a leg/a pretty penny, to
Excessively expensive, exorbitant. The first phrase is American in origin and dates from the mid-twentieth century. The source is obvious: giving up an arm and a leg to buy something is clearly too costly. The use of “pretty” to mean considerable in amount was originally British and is now archaic except in a few well-worn phrases like this one, a cliché since the late nineteenth century. It was common throughout the eighteenth century, and crossed the Atlantic as well (“The captain might still make a pretty penny,” Bret Harte, Maruja, 1885). A similar term was a fine penny, now obsolete.